Kids Helpline – http://kidshelp.com.au/
Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.
eheadspace – https://www.eheadspace.org.au/
eheadspace is a confidential, free and secure space where young people 12 – 25 or their family can chat, email or speak on the phone with a qualified youth counsellor
headspace Wagga Wagga :www.headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/wagga-wagga/
is a centre where young people who are having a tough time can come to get support.
We provide a safe and confidential environment, for young people to access counselling and mental health services
At headspace Wagga Wagga you can receive support from a range of professionals including case managers, psychologists, social workers, dietician or general practitioner (doctor). All of our workers are skilled in listening to young people and can help you identify problems, goals and achieve creative solutions to issues.
We bulk bill all appointments – which means that there will be no out of pocket costs to you. All you need to do is bring your Medicare card along with you.
Generally a young person will be allocated a case manager who they can liaise with while they are accessing services here and also a counsellor, psychologist or social worker.
Our main centre is located in Wagga Wagga, however we have workers who travel to West Wyalong, Temora, Tumut and Cootamundra. To make a referral so that you can access services here, simply call (02) 6923 3170, or check out our “Make a referral” section below for more information.
headspace Griffith headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/griffith/
is a youth-friendly service for anyone aged between 12 and 25 years. Our staff can talk to you about any concerns you may have and provide you with support, information and services in a confidential, non-judgmental environment.
All of our services are free of charge. You can come in on your own or bring someone with you for support. If you’re not ready to talk to someone yet, we can provide you or your family with general information on a number of different topics. There is a great range of fact sheets that you can access now via the ‘Get Info Now’ link at the bottom of this page.
You can phone us on 02 6962 3277 to arrange an appointment, or drop into our site at 1/26 Ulong Street to find out more. Referrals are not required but appointments are preferred.
If you have any immediate concerns, you can phone Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Accessline on 1800 800 944.
biteback – http://www.biteback.org.au/
BITE BACK is an ever-changing space where you can discover ways to amplify the good stuff in life and share real and personal stories with others.
reachout.com – http://au.reachout.com/
ReachOut.com helps under 25s with everyday questions through to tough times.
youth beyondblue – http://www.youthbeyondblue.com
Going through tough times? Stress, anxiety and feeling down can affect anyone, and in fact happens to a lot of us at some point in our lives.
Valuable references for Parents and Teenagers
The Two Worlds of your Teenager – Sonya Karras and Sacha Kaluri
They understand that while teenagers experience many changes in their lives, there are two big areas that come into full bloom about the same time as each other: social life and thoughts about a career path.
Sonya and Sacha are experts in these two areas. They believe it’s the parent’s job to be well prepared for this often confusing time in their teenager’s life. Then when your children really need help they will confidently come to you, their parents, because you understand what’s really going on. The purpose is to make sure the forever-widening gap between teens and their parents becomes narrower and narrower.
Sonya and Sacha have made it their life’s mission to engage and connect with teenagers on a daily basis to guide them in these areas. They believe the more choices, options and information a teenager is given, the more likely they are to make positive choices, especially when faced with a tricky situation. Their fun, down-to-earth manner readily connects with parents and teens, and makes this an engaging and informative read.
‘The Two Worlds of Your Teenager is practical, punchy and informative much like its authors. It will give you a laugh, help you stay sane. It’s much cheaper than therapy, smarter than Dr Google and more fun than counselling.’ – Susie O’Brien, Herald Sun
Navigating Teen Depression – Gordon Parker and Kerrie Eyers
Professor Gordon Parker AO is currently Scientia Professor of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales and was Executive Director of the Black Dog Institute from 2001 – 2011.
Kerrie Eyers MA (Psych), DipEd, MPH, MAPS is a psychologist, teacher and editor with many years’ experience in mental health, based at the Black Dog Institute.
“At last, a sensible, well-written and incisive description of the most common psychiatric disorder in young people: depression.
Sometimes, trying to detect depression in young people is like trying to pick up mercury with a fork but this book makes the task just that little easier. It is an invaluable resource for people who work with young people in health, education and welfare and should be a standard text for all trainees.” – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg. Dr Michael Carr-Gregg is one of Australia’s highest profile psychologists, author of 10 books, broadcaster and a specialist in parenting, children, adolescents and the use of technology for mental health.
First symptoms of depression often occur during teenage years, and it can be a disturbing and confusing time for families as well as the teenager themselves. How can you tell whether it’s just typical teenage ups and downs that will pass, or something more serious? How can parents, carers and professionals who work with young people best identify and support teenagers with depression?
Experienced clinician and researcher Gordon Parker explains how to systematically identify different mood disorders, and outlines treatment options. He discusses the particular challenges faced by adolescents and approaches to effective management.
Illustrated with moving and informative descriptions from people who suffered depression as teenagers, this is a comprehensive and authoritative guide.
Ways to Help Your Teen
Know the warning signs. It can be difficult to tell whether or not your teen has a mental disorder, but there are certain nonverbal cues and signs you can watch out for.
It can be tough to tell if troubling behaviour in a child is just part of growing up or a problem that should be discussed with a health professional. But if there are signs and symptoms that last weeks or months; and if these issues interfere with the child’s daily life, not only at home but at school and with friends, you should contact a health professional.
Your child or teen might need help if he or she:
- Often feels anxious or worried
- Has very frequent tantrums or is intensely irritable much of the time
- Has frequent stomach aches or headaches with no physical explanation
- Is in constant motion, can’t sit quietly for any length of time
- Has trouble sleeping, including frequent nightmares
- Loses interest in things he or she used to enjoy
- Avoids spending time with friends
- Has trouble doing well in school, or grades decline
- Fears gaining weight; exercises, diets obsessively
- Has low or no energy
- Has spells of intense, inexhaustible activity
- Harms herself/himself, such as cutting or burning her/his skin
- Engages in risky, destructive behaviour
- Harms self or others
- Smokes, drinks, or uses drugs
- Has thoughts of suicide
- Thinks his or her mind is controlled or out of control, hears voices
- Some signals include meticulous or restrained eating (indicative of an eating disorder), oversleeping or exhaustion, extreme mood swings and wearing long sleeves or pants or bandages (to cover up signs of self-harm).
- Educate yourself about mental illnesses. Learning everything you can about mental illness is the first step in knowing how to help someone struggling.
- Talk openly about mental illness. This is the first strategy for most parents, and oftentimes it can be one of the most effective. If your teen is struggling with a mental health disorder, the worst thing you can do is to ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Talking openly and honestly to your teen about depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts reduces the stigma of silence around these issues, and lets your child know that it’s OK to speak up about what they’re going through.
- Have a conversation about drug abuse. Many teens choose to experiment with drugs and alcohol to escape the weight of a mental disorder. While your teen may never try dangerous substances, don’t assume that they won’t — instead, have a discussion about the dangersof drugs and alcohol. If you fear your teen is addicted, talking to them is even more important. Learning the difference between confrontation and conversation is crucial in knowing how to approach the situation.
Are you a friend, relative or partner of a teen with mental illness? There are ways you can help that show you care.
- Be supportive, not enabling.When and if your teen opens up about their mental illness struggles, be patient, and above all, listen. Let your teen know that having a mental health issue doesn’t change how much you love them. It may be difficult, but try not to jump to conclusions or blame certain people, events or situations for what your child is experiencing. It can be all too easy to practice enabling behaviours that do more harm than good, such as offering to do homework or making excuses for their mental illness.
- Don’t use dismissive or judgemental language. When talking to someone who’s struggling, it’s important to think about the way you talk. Platitudes like “Everything’s going to be OK” and “You’ll get over it” do nothing to help someone with a mental health disorder. Instead, ask questions like “How can I best support you right now?” Reassure your teen that they’re not the only one who deals with these issues and that you’re by their side through it all.
- Consult your paediatrician or GP.Your teen’s doctor will be able to give you pointers on how to identify the presence of a mental illness and advice on how to proceed should your teen’s condition worsen. If your teen’s doctor does not provide a diagnosis or referral to another professional, it can be beneficial to seek a second opinion. It’s better to be cautious than let a mental illness fester.
- Get a referral for a mental health specialist.Talk therapy with a licensed counsellor can go a long way to help someone battling mental illness. Saying something like “It worries me to hear you talking like this; let’s talk to someone about it,” can be the key to broaching the topic of counselling with your teen. Your doctor or health insurance representative will be able to recommend therapy options that fit your budget and align with your child’s needs.
I’m being bullied
You have a right to feel safe and be safe. Being bullied can make you feel miserable and powerless but things can change.
There are things you can do, and doing something will help you feel like you are taking your power back.
Tell a teacher, parent or other adult or a friend who can help you. Remember, the sooner you report the bullying and take action, the sooner things can change.
You can also visit the Kids Helpline For Teens & Young Adults section or call them on 1800 55 1800. It is a free call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
How you might feel
Bullying affects each person in different ways. Common feelings include:
- ashamed that this is happening to you
- hopeless and stuck and can’t get out of the situation
- like it is your fault
- alone, like there is no one to help you
- like you don’t fit in with the cool group
- depressed and rejected by your friends and other groups of people
- unsafe and afraid
- confused about why this is happening to you
- stressed about what to do.
But, you’re not alone and it’s not okay. Watch I’ve been bullied (video) to see how other people who were bullied felt and how they changed things.
It’s awful to feel this way, but it is not hopeless and there are things you can do. You don’t have to feel like this.
Read stories about how other young people have been through tough situations.
A real life story of a girl who was bullied at school on the ReachOut site.
A real life story of a guy who was bullied at school on the ReachOut site.
What can I do at school?
Your school has a responsibility to ensure you have a safe learning environment free from violence, harassment and bullying. Your principal, teachers and school staff need to know about bullying so they can deal with it quickly.
Watch Dr Michael Carr-Gregg (Psychologist) talk about what you can do if you have been bullied.
Talk to someone
Telling someone shares the problem. It helps you feel supported.
It’s not dobbing or weak to tell someone. Bullying is not ok, ever!
It is really important to tell someone, particularly if the bullying has been going on for a while or the strategies you’ve tried haven’t worked.
- Talk to your friends—they can help you tell a teacher or your parents or just to feel better.
- Talk to your parents—tell them the ‘who, what, when and where’ of what’s been happening.
- Talk to your teacher or another staff member—tell them the ‘who, what, when and where’. If you don’t want to do this where others might hear you, make an excuse to see the teacher about something else, for example your homework, and talk in private.
- If you can’t talk to someone face-to-face, Kids Helpline have online chat and email or you can phone on 1800 55 1800.
Try some strategies
These strategies should only be tried if you are not in any immediate danger of being physically hurt and you feel confident you can do them.
- Ignore the bullying—turn your back and walk away.
- Act unimpressed or pretend you don’t care what they say or do to you. You could say ‘Okay, whatever’ and walk away.
- Say ‘No’ or ‘Just stop it’ firmly.
- Try using ‘fogging’ to distract or discourage the person without making them annoyed. Fogging means making a joke or funny comment that makes the other person think you don’t care about what they say, or pretending to agree with them so they have nothing to bother you about. For example, you could casually say something general like, “Yeah, that’s the way it is”, or “Okay, since I’m so …. (using the person’s bullying words); I’ll cope. I better just go then, bye.”
What can I do away from school
Bullying can happen anywhere. It can even happen in your family. If family members or others do things that hurt you, scare you, or make you feel bad about yourself, then this isn’t okay.
Talk to a family member who can help you—tell them the ‘who, what, when and where’ of what has been happening. If you prefer, talk to your teacher or another staff member privately. Talk to a friend to get help to report it.
If you can’t talk to someone face-to-face, Kids Helpline have online chat and email or you can phone on 1800 55 1800. It’s a free call.
If you feel unsafe you can call the police.
What can I do online?
Bullying online can happen to anyone, anytime, and can leave you feeling unsafe and alone. Online bullying can be offensive and upsetting and you don’t have to put up with it!
Tell an adult about the online bullying. This could be a parent or carer, relative, adult friend or teacher.
Your school may have policies in place to deal with bullying whether it happens in person or online if others students are involved.
If you’re not comfortable to talk to someone face to face, Kids Helpline have online chat and email or you can phone on 1800 55 1800. It is a free call.
You can protect yourself online or on your phone with a few simple strategies.
- Do not retaliate and do not respond when you’re angry or upset.
- Give your phone number to friends only.
- Keep your mobile phone away from those who shouldn’t have your phone number.
- Use ID blocking on your phone to hide your number when you call others.
- Think before you send a text message or make a call.
- Keep records of calls or messages that are offensive or hurtful.
- Don’t share your passwords, not even with friends. Things change, even good friendships.
- Social media is a public space. Don’t post anything you really wouldn’t want others to see or know about.
- Treat your friends how you would want to be treated.
For advice about reporting and direct link to social network and online gaming websites reporting pages, go to the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner website Social media services’ safety centres.
Look for a Report abuse button if you are on social networking sites.
If you feel physically threatened, call the police in your state or territory.
Block, delete or report anyone who is harassing you online. Go to the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner Cyberbullying complaints to make a report.
For more information about online safety issues and what you need to know to protect yourself, go to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner website.
Change your privacy settings
For help, use the privacy features on your phone. Call your mobile company’s customer care number:
Optus: 1300 300 937
Telstra: 125 111
Virgin: 1300 555 100
Vodaphone: 1300 650 410
For more tips about avoiding bullying via mobile phones visit the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association website.
What can I do at work?
Your boss has a responsibility to provide a safe work environment where there is no violence, harassment or bullying.
Keep a record
Keep a diary of any bullying or harassing behaviours. Documenting everything that happens, including what you’ve done to try to stop it. This is useful if you make a complaint.
See if your work place has a bullying and harassment policy and a complaints procedure.
If you feel safe and confident, you can approach the person who is bullying or harassing you and tell them that their behaviour is unwanted and not acceptable.
The Ultimate Parent Guide for Protecting Your Child on the Internet
We see news stories about the impact of technology on our everyday lives all the time these days. Many of us started to think about how technology affects us personally. But how many of us have stopped to think about how it affects our children?
85% of mothers said they use technology to keep their children busy.
Kids are receiving their first internet-capable device earlier and earlier. That same study showed that 83% of American households have tablets, and 77% have smartphones.
Even in school, technology is abundant. Teachers set homework that requires online research and tools and use apps to manage that homework.
Technology is always adapting and it’s here to stay, but many do not think about the safety risk in terms of cybersecurity. A recent study revealed a startling figure: 68% of parents never check their children’s online activity. And that online activity increases year after year.
When someone is thinking about suicide
Many of us will notice changes in people around us and get the feeling that “something is not right”. You may not want to say anything for fear of making the situation worse or because you don’t know what to say if they confirm your concerns. While these conversations can be very difficult and confronting, there is a lot you can do.
This resource will give you basic tips to help you talk to someone you are worried may be thinking about suicide.
You can watch it as an online presentation or download it as a printed fact sheet or audio podcast by using the links below by visiting conversationsmatter.com.au.
Supporting family members with a mental health condition
What Works 4 U Share treatments that worked and learn what treatments other young people found helpful. Young Carers Gives you tips on how to look after yourself and the person you are caring for. You can also call their help line on 1800 242 636.
Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) Having a parent with a mental illness can be tough. But COPMI have a lot of information and videos to help you get your head around it all. There’s also great information for parents too.
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre
Information to organise services such as home respite care, support workers and residential respite care. You can call them directly on 1800 052 222.itsallright Website for young people with a parent or friend affected by mental illness. As well as factsheets and podcasts, you can submit questions and get a referral for more support.
Drug and Alcohol support
DrugInfo Provides easy access to information about prevention of alcohol and other drug harms, through publications, a resource centre and seminars.
National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre Provides information to the community, users and their families including treatment options and real stories from young people.
National Drugs Campaign Information for young people about different illicit drugs and where to get help. Also includes a list of state based drug and alcohol info services.
Somazone Questions and answers on youth mental health, depression, relationships, drugs and more, plus personal stories and where to get help.
TeenRehabCenter.org , a valuable US web resource that provides information and support to adolescents who are fighting addiction and substance abuse. Substance abuse in adolescents frequently overlaps with other mental health problems. Our goal is to support teens and their families by providing the most thorough resources and tools related to drug and alcohol abuse.
Eating Disorders and Body Image
The Butterfly Foundation Represents all people affected by eating disorders and negative body image, including friends and family. Has a range of resources including a support line – 1800 33 4673.
Bullying and Cyberbullying
Keep It Tame – Shows the risks of taking a ‘joke’ too far online, and what to do if you are on the receiving end.
CyberSmart – Information on how to deal with online issues including cyberbullying, trolling, digital reputation and sexting.
Stay Smart Online – Provides information on online issues including cyberbullying, and links to the cyber safety help button.
Bullying No Way! – Provides information on what to do if you are being bullied, been called a bully or know someone who is being bullied.
The Line – Sometimes people make choices that cross the line. This website provides a space to talk about respectful relationships.
Law Stuff – Know your stuff on a range of issues including bullying and cyberbullying for your state.
Grief and loss
Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement – Information about grief and support for people who are grieving.
GriefLine – 1300 845 745 Grief helpline that provides telephone support services to individuals and families.